The International Writers Magazine - September 05
For almost two weeks
now we have watched stunned as the chaos in New Orleans and other cites
along the Gulf cost seemed to grow worse by the day. It's a modern tragedy.
Now everyone is trying to blame someone else for the failures to save
those thousands left behind to starve or die or just to decend into
anarchy. Of course if the Mayor had forced everyone to leave it might
have been better, but was the weather alert telling him it was a Category
Four Hurricane? Why didn't he provide transport to get the poor out
of the city? Why didn't they leave?
Why are some still there, despite the Army going from door to door to
get them out.? Is property worth more than life itself?
Questions will be
asked about why it took so long for President Bush to act, why soldiers
didn't arrived the day after? Why FEMA seemingly did nothing. Indeed
blocked efforts by others to send aid according to an article in the
New York Times today September 5th.
It makes us look
again at American disaster movies with a new light. The very lack of
heroism goes against the movie theme of one strong man taking charge.
In modern America then no one takes charge? We all came out of War
of the Worlds this summer depressed because Tom Cruise was no hero
and just saved his family rather than tackle the monsters. Well it seems
Spielberg is right, in this America we will just sit back and let anarchy
No doubt FEMA will explain it was everyone else's fault no one came
to New Orleans rescue but America will also have look into it's own
heart and wonder why such chaos developed and the looting began.
New Orleans was
warned it was living on borrowed time and yes money has been diverted
to Iraq, but should there be a city there at all? What will happen to
all those evacuated? How on earth will they be able to rebuild their
lives? How do you start rebuilding a million homes? Sure the rebuilding
will give jobs and bring a future boom time but meanwhile, there will
be a lot of trauma, the death toll will rise and then there is the psychological
impact on those dispossessed and those who have to take them in. Texas
is full and the strains are already showing. Everyone is worried about
who will pay for all this.
It is Hurricane time
still. Getting hit by one is like winning a lottery you never entered.
I know what it is like, for I was in Miami in 99 when one swept
through. Katrina was much worse and the economic fallout will be huge.
It's going to be tough. We have a reader's response to the disaster
here> Katrina Fallout
Once it is over will people in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi think
about global warming? Or is this just an accepted part of living on the
edge of the Gulf? Something you learn to live with. The North gets snow,
the south gets hurricanes, - a natural cycle? Or is it, as some scientists
say, a foretaste of things to come. The forces will get stronger, more
regular and we will have to think about moving whole cities and populations
To that end, for those that dont believe the evidence that the ice
caps are melting, Canada is paying much greater attention to its northern
territories now. As the ice retreats more each year and the weather turns
nasty elsewhere, it might be that everything has to shift upwards. They
can see global warming in action.
Youre thinking, no thats crazy, do you know what it
will cost to move just one city, never mind several, but it is a
possibility and thats all thanks to global warming.
In Europe many cities are vulnerable. All of Holland is in lowland. Much
of the English East Coast is also. No not vulnerable to Hurricanes to
be sure, but inundations for sure. (It happened in 1953 and 300
One would like to see an aerial map of England in Roman times before the
ditches and dykes were dug. Towns like my birthplace Louth, in Lincolnshire,
were ports in Roman times and it is nearly 20 miles from the sea. Could
we really give away 20 miles of the UK coastline? We may have to.
Can New Orleans remain in the bowl, keeping out the Gulf forever with
ever higher levees? Can anything be done to halt global warming? Gas prices
at $3 bucks plus a gallon might just serve as a wake up call to SUV drivers,
but hey, we over here dream of such cheap gas. We are paying $8 (for an
Imperial gallon) in the UK. More, if like me, you are driving diesel.
I think that is the debate to come. If, and you have to accept the science
first, global warming is real and the storms are only going to get worse
and stronger; how much will it cost to make US costal cities storm proof?
How much would it cost to let the old cities die and then build new ones
in safer areas? Too incredible to think about? Well maybe we will have
to think about it one day sooner than you think.
Postscript: I am happy to hear the dolphins have survived Sept 15th.
If you'd like to make a contribution to the American Red Cross for New
Orleans go here
Lucky us we saw Keira in 'Pride and
Prejudice' with the scriptwriter Deborah Moggach and the first time
feature director Joe Wright decoding his adaptation afterwards. Good to
see that it is a big success at the UK box office this past weekend. On
Wednesday we were at an all day workshop on adapting novels to the screen
at BAFTA. Standout was an hour with Ronald Harwood who illuminated his
adaptation processes on 'The Pianist' (for which he won an Oscar) and
the upcoming 'Oliver Twist' also for Roman Polanski which looks very interesting.
He has just finished adapting 'Love in the Time of Cholera'- which should
be good... An amusing and talented man. We also saw the wonderful .'You,
Me, Everyone We know' Directed and starring the amazing Miranda July.
If you haven't seen this film, go, it is totally eccentric but utterly
absorbing. Be prepared to be surprised and a little shocked.
anyone contemplating on submitting to Hacks for October and in future
we have changed our email address- so check out the submissions
page for details.
We are looking for lively, honest well written journalism on varied topics
- travel, politics, life and good short fiction. We look for an international
perspective, so welcome submissions in English from all over the world.
Yes we reject quite a lot too, for lots of reasons, quality of writing,
racist or sexist overtones, lack of research or sense of humour but in
general, we have loyal readers as well as writers and the current stats
show that we are getting a small but healthy readership of 1600 a day.
We don't want to be google, we want to continue as a small niche respected
magazine and you the potential writer or reader make that happen. Support
us and oh yes buy Sam's books - details below - it's the only revenue
we get darn it.
My new book The
Curse of the Nibelung - A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
has just been released September 2005
Copies can be ordered from all the usual on-line retailers and via the
web link here:
North - Editor hackwriters.com
at Hacks are self supporting and if you want to support us, buy Sam's
books - All the funds from the sale of the book go back into the site.
Curse of the Nibelung
A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
by Sam North
Retail - 300 pages - Lulu Press USA
'Chocolate will never be the same again'
- Sunday Express
Buy from your favourite on-line retailer
Buy direct from Lulu Press at special price of $12.95 US
If you are
looking for a good read Sam North's book Diamonds -
The Rush of '72 is available also.
$19.95 from Amazon.com in the USA or on special offer from the publishers
direct - see box below.
buy direct from the publisher from only $12.95
- The Rush of '72
By Sam North
Buy now from Amazon.com
terrific piece of storytelling' Historical Novel Society Review
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